Arsenal routs Basel 4-1 to win Champions League group
Arsenal easily beat Basel 4-1 to finish top of its Champions League group yesterday, powered by a hat trick from little-used forward Lucas Perez. Getting a rare start, the Spanish forward gave Arsenal a three-goal lead by the 47th minute as the visitors coasted to victory.
Mesut Ozil’s delightful assist let Alex Iwobi score in the 53rd before Basel substitute Seydou Doumbia struck a consolation goal in the 78th.
Arsenal unexpectedly finished atop Group A, rising above Paris SaintGermain which drew 2-2 at home to winless Ludogorets Razgrad.
As a group winner, Arsenal is seeded in Monday’s draw for the Round of 16, hoping to avoid a seventh straight exit at that stage. Arsenal will avoid the likes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid but the pot of unseeded teams is stronger than usual.
One possible opponent is Bayern Munich which ousted Arsenal in the first knockout round in 2013 and ‘14.
Another option is either Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund, which play Wednesday in Spain with leadership of Group F at stake. Arsenal completed its 17th straight successful group stage with a deserved win on a cold night in Switzerland.
Lucas Perez has made little impact in north London since a deadline-beating move from Deportivo La Coruna in August.
Still, the 28-year-old forward scored his first Champions League goal in the eighth minute and scored in almost identical fashion eight minutes later.
Each time, left back Kieran Gibbs was found deep in the Basel area. First a cross, then a shot, flashed across the goalmouth for Lucas Perez to tap in with his left foot at the far post.
The hat trick goal was more impressive, as Lucas Perez advanced into the path of the ball 15 meters (yards) out to shoot right-footed across the dive of goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
Ozil’s visionary assist was the key to Arsenal’s fourth. A fast, direct break saw the Germany playmaker surge into the Basel penalty area and deceive defenders who expected him to shoot by clipping a reverse pass for Iwobi to score easily from close range. — AP beIN SPORTS 2 HD beIN SPORTS 5 HD beIN SPORTS 7 HD beIN SPORTS 1 HD beIN SPORTS 8 HD beIN SPORTS 9 HD beIN SPORTS 4 HD beIN SPORTS 6 HD
BASEL: Basel’s Marc Janko, center, in close action with Arsenal during their Champions League Group stage Group A soccer match between Switzerland’s FC Basel 1893 and England’s Arsenal FC in the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, yesterday. — AP